Overflow crowd urges Freeholders to save Bradley Cove

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Asbury Park – An overflow crowd of Asbury Park residents attended the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting in the city last evening to rally the county’s governing body to save the north end beachfront property known as Bradley Cove.

iStar Financial, the city’s master developer, owns the development rights to the site and has a proposal to build 15 town homes on the property. The Asbury Park Council passed a resolution earlier this month to apply for Green Acres funding to preserve the property.

The freeholders were sympathetic to the public outcry to prevent the development, but made it clear that the ball is in Asbury Park’s court.  Prior Asbury Park administrations sold the development rights to the property and approved a tax abatement to support the development.  Community members are now trying to undue that deal, and seem be hoping that Freeholder Board has the power to make that happen.

Freeholder Tom Arnone said that Asbury Park needs to be totally committed to a preservation project. IMG_2233 Councilwoman Amy Quinn indicated that the current council, which has been if office just less that a year and, due to a change in government passed by referendum last year will be replaced in the election this November, said that the city is currently committed to working in partnership with the county to preserve the property.

The sticking point will be the amount that iStar will accept for the property.  A draft appraisal of the property completed in October off 2012, prior to Superstorm Sandy pegged the value of the 1/2 acre property a $3.6 million with numerous caveats.  Freeholder Director Lillian Burry said that iStar representatives indicated at a meeting last March that they would never accept that amount.

Speaking during the public portion of the meeting, Former Howell Mayor Joe DiBella said that the previous Asbury Park governing body were guilty of “criminal negligence” for letting the property’s development rights go.  DiBella urged members of the public to stay involved by attending council meetings and planning and zoning meetings.

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Former Freeholder Amy Mallet said that the Open Space program was designed to acquire properties such as Bradley Cove and reminded the freeholders that everything in negotiable, the implication being that the property could be had for less than $3.6 million.

Posted: June 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “Overflow crowd urges Freeholders to save Bradley Cove”

  1. It's amazing- said at 12:38 pm on June 27th, 2014:

    when a bunch of people want something in their neighborhood, for their view, their convenience, no expense must be spared by the rest of us taxpayers,to pay for what they want!.. That amount of money, for.6 acre of land, is both criminal and ridiculous! If they want this, they they need to step up, work on it, and seek out grants from everywhere, and some benefactors with money , and maybe start a non-profit, fundraising group,to start raising enough money through private donations, to fund this( likely) donnybrook. If the city can’t even get their act together, why do they expect everyone else to do it all for them?

  2. Joe Woerner said at 2:04 pm on June 27th, 2014:

    Four points not being reported:

    1. Freeholder Burry stated at the meeting the 3.5 million dollar appraisal number was not certified by the appraiser as it was pre-Sandy. Therefore it is invalid, as is the 3.5 million dollar number.

    2. No one has ever asked the County for 3.5 million dollars. We’ve asked for a partnership on the Green Acres application with requires a 25% match of up to 250k. The first step of the Green Acres process is two independent up-to-date appraisals.

    3. The current City Council has done everything in its power to move this project forward. The ball is in the County’s court.

    4. Asbury, Loch Arbour, Interlaken, Deal, and Allenhurst have paid over 7 million dollars into the County’s open space fund but have zero acres of MC open space, parks, or farmland.

  3. Joe D said at 4:27 pm on June 27th, 2014:

    In my estimation, the mayor and council have not done everything they can do although they are working hard to do so. They can float municipal bonds and come up with the needed money to buy the property; they can continue to meet and negotiate with the owner and they can collaborate with the neighboring communities impacted to get them engaged as well (perhaps even financially). It is ultimately the municipality that has to step up and lead on this issue. They can apply for County open space funds and they should pursue further the Green Acres money as well. To suggest the County needs to “bail out” the municipality, I believe, is a mistake. The impression I got last night was the Freeholders want to help and shall in every way practical. But in my view, the Mayor and Council need to own this issue and there is more they can do. It is unfortunate that the previous councils acted so negligently and that the community was not more aware of the issues. Now that this is out in the open, the municipal leadership needs to use all of the resources at its disposal and I get the sense they will.

  4. Joe Woerner said at 6:45 pm on June 27th, 2014:

    Joe D – The City is in the process of doing all of the things that you suggested except bonding to find the funds. A city like Asbury Park should not burden its taxpayers as they have contributed millions of dollars to the County’s open space fund with zero acres of MC farmland, MC parks, or MC open space while the rest of the county has just hit the threshold of 16,000 MC open space acres. Refund our county tax allocated to the open space fund or simply eliminate it and we will happily apply it to purchase the property.

  5. Joe D said at 7:33 am on June 30th, 2014:

    Every municipality is eligible to apply for County Open Space funds. This is what the Township should do. However, there are strategic and tactical steps that need to be in place first: 1) by moving on the bond issue the municipality illustrates its serious, 2) by engaging perhaps the army core of engineers the municipality can further its case that building there would be detrimental to the safety of future residents due to the proximity to the water, 3) by starting a not for profit community group to oppose the development that will be prepared to camp out in the area and dissuade future residents from buying based on the dangers involved, etc. The municipality needs a detailed plan that has multiple approaches and strategies; some need to be done privately and others need to be public. In terms of the County just swooping in on the argument that Asbury Park has paid in but not received its portion; that argument is really unfair and invalid. Has Asbury Park applied for open space money from the County in the recent past? It is unlikely based on the apparent neglect demonstrated by past elected officials in the municipality. If one does not apply, they cannot receive. An organized plan is what is needed and with smart, devoted people like Joe Werner involved and others who were at the meeting last week. There is no silver bullet here. It has taken 30 years for this mess to be made and while it can be corrected, it will not happen with energy and spirit alone.

  6. Joe D said at 7:34 am on June 30th, 2014:

    Every municipality is eligible to apply for County Open Space funds. This is what the Township should do. However, there are strategic and tactical steps that need to be in place first: 1) by moving on the bond issue the municipality illustrates its serious, 2) by engaging perhaps the army core of engineers the municipality can further its case that building there would be detrimental to the safety of future residents due to the proximity to the water, 3) by starting a not for profit community group to oppose the development that will be prepared to camp out in the area and dissuade future residents from buying based on the dangers involved, etc. The municipality needs a detailed plan that has multiple approaches and strategies; some need to be done privately and others need to be public. In terms of the County just swooping in on the argument that Asbury Park has paid in but not received its portion; that argument is really unfair and invalid. Has Asbury Park applied for open space money from the County in the recent past? It is unlikely based on the apparent neglect demonstrated by past elected officials in the municipality. If one does not apply, they cannot receive. An organized plan is what is needed and with smart, devoted people like Joe Werner involved and others who were at the meeting last week. There is no silver bullet here. It has taken 30 years for this mess to be made and while it can be corrected, it will not happen with energy and spirit alone. Good luck

  7. Tired of said at 5:36 pm on June 30th, 2014:

    the “poor me” arguments we always hear from some: maybe the beautiful shore line Asbury was given, and used to own and beautifully maintain, could still be theirs,if many corrupt administrations there did not basically give it away to developers who do NOT care about that once lovely little city: meanwhile,check out the huge sizes of their municipal and school budgets: with so few actual property taxPAYERS who live there, who do you think gives them huge chunks of their budgets, every single year? The rest of us at local,county, and state levels, that’s who! And the thanks we get is fewer graduates and more crime!..it’s disgraceful, really..And, do not tell me you have no access to parks: there are already county bus programs taking kids to the new pool and center at the former Ft. Monmouth, you use the lovely Shark River park in neighboring Neptune, and golf course, the great 7 Presidents oceanfront park, in nearby Long Branch, and,believe you have,and are getting another pocket park in an urban town,with little parkland left,at all! So, yes, go for any grants you can, bond through,and save a ton of interest, by dealing with the County Improvement Authority, and start a charitable fund, and, how about helping yourselves more, this time? It sure would be refreshing.